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How to Show Nonprinting Characters in Word 2007

Seeing nonprinting characters in Word 2007 documents can be a great help when formatting text; creating tables; and editing documents, newsletters, and brochures. Nonprinting characters include spaces, tabs, paragraph marks (hard returns), soft returns, nonbreaking spaces, and field codes.

You can show all nonprinting characters all the time or some of the time, or toggle off and on the ones you want to see (or ignore).

Start by setting nonprinting characters to display all the time.

1

Click the Office button.

Look in the upper-right corner.

2

From the Office menu, click the Word Options button.

Look in the bottom-right corner.

3

Click the Display button.

Find Display in the left panel of Word Options.

4

In the Display window, look for the Always Show These Formatting Marks on the Screen section.

Put a check mark in the Show All Formatting Marks check box. Then click OK to exit Word Options.

To toggle viewing nonprinting characters on and off from the Ribbon, you must choose which ones you want to toggle. On the Display page of Word Options, in the Always Show These Formatting Marks on the Screen section, make sure that the Show All Formatting Marks check box is not marked. Then, clear the check box of any character you want to toggle, such as spaces or Tabs. The Ribbon toggle is the Show/Hide button, located in the Paragraph group of the Home tab.

Instead of viewing all nonprinting characters all the time, you can pick which ones you prefer. For example, you might want to see space marks but never optional hyphens. Do this from the Display page of Word Options, in the Always Show These Formatting Marks on the Screen section.

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